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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snippets of the Library World

A reader asked me for mystery recommendations. She was not interested in a Nancy Drew book. I mentioned Trixie Belden, telling her it was a series that has been reprinted. She looked at the books briefly and then began wandering around the shelves again. I suggested Regarding the... books by the Klise sisters. Again, there was no spark. Though she seemed interested in Sammy Keyes and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, ultimately she confessed to wanting two of the same book for her book group. We found a book that interested her, and I asked about the members of the book group. With a shy smile, she revealed it was just her and her mom. My mom and I talk about books all the time would have been wonderful to do it as an avid young reader as well.

Another reader asked me to find a book that had been made into a movie. He wanted to read the book first. I mentioned Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, but he had seen both of those movies already and read the first. I suggested Babe: The Gallant Pig, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and The Capture (Book 1 of The Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky). None were quite what he wanted. Then he glimpsed the cover of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Was that made into a movie? No, I told him. Probing questions led to his disclosure that he preferred fantasy to realistic fiction. That was when I spotted The Borrowers. As I described it, he kept perfect eye contact and nodded often. Was the Clock family a bit like the Littles (by John Peterson)? Yes, I answered. He took that one, looking back over his shoulder to say he would be back for the others someday.

Library days are spotted with incidents like these. Though short in exchange, the interactions shape readers' choices and trust of the adults in their world. The readers return to discuss what they have liked and disliked and why...and ask for more ideas.


  1. Reading the "snippets" from your library world reminded me of the importance of having a trained, professional librarian at a school, someone who has wide knowledge of children's books and can make informed recommendations like you do. It's similar to the reason why independent bookstores, staffed with people who are intimately familiar with the books, are so important.

  2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was twice filmed--once with Ingrid Bergman in 73 and once with Lauren Bacall in 95.

  3. Thanks, Barb, for the correction. I only looked in one place for information and should have confirmed it. Being that it's my favorite Newbery winner though, I am happy to stick with the images in my mind.